Please join us and tune in to WJFD Radio FM for Contraponto, a program series sponsored by the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture. This program features a series of interviews hosted by Irene Amaral and featuring Tagus Press personalities.
The next interview will air Sunday, February 20, 2022, at 11:00 am. The featured guest is Prof. Elizabeth Lowe, discussing Happy People in Tears, by João de Melo (Tagus Press, 2015).
Listen live at 97.3FM, wjfd.com., WJFD Radio App or iHeart Radio!
Happy People in Tears is an award-winning tale of diaspora that takes the reader on a voyage through five worlds—the island home of São Miguel, mainland Portugal, California, New England, and Canada—experienced and suffered through the obsessive search for happiness of a poor Azorean family of eleven. It is a polyphonic novel, in which the voices of three of nine siblings narrate their versions of the family saga in alternating chapters, culminating in a dialogue between the key narrator, Nuno Miguel, and his estranged wife, Marta, who tells the story from her point of view and sheds a harsh light on her husband, a poet, and his chronically tearful family. Nuno Miguel completes the circle of migration and suffering in the final chapter to return to his ancestral home, to greater self-awareness and a place of acceptance.
João de Melo was born in the Azores in 1949. He has written over twenty books, including the novels My World Is Not of This Kingdom and, most recently, Lugar Caído no Crepúsculo (A Place Fallen into the Twilight). First published in Portuguese in 1988, Happy People in Tears won multiple literary awards in Portugal, including the Grand Prize of the Portuguese Writers’ Association, the City of Lisbon Prize and the Christopher Columbus Prize.
Elizabeth Lowe is the author of The City in Brazilian Literature and Translation and the Rise of Inter-American Literature. She has written extensively on translation theory and pedagogy, and has translated fiction by numerous Brazilian, Portuguese and Lusophone African writers, most recently Nélida Piñon’s The House of Passion, João Almino’s The Last Twist of the Knife, and Antonio Lobo Antunes’ Commission of Tears. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Grant for 2020-21 and a Fulbright to conduct literary research in Brazil in 2020. She founded the Center for Translation Studies and the MA in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Illinois (2008-2015) and is currently a faculty member for the NYU online MA in Translation and Interpreting. She is an active member of the PEN Translation Committee. In Spring 2022, Elizabeth is in residence at UMass Dartmouth as the Hélio and Amélia Pedroso / FLAD Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies.
The translation and publication of Happy People in Tears was generously supported by the Governo Regional dos Açores / Direção Regional da Cultura. Happy People in Tears is volume 23 of the Portuguese in the Americas series.